One strategy students use to overcome the financial obstacles they encounter while studying in the United States is to combine work and study. But the real question is whether it’s a good idea to work while studying in America. Together, let’s provide an answer to this.
Can an international student work and study in USA?
Earning more money is one benefit of deciding to work and study in America. You can thus use this money to partially cover your tuition costs while studying in America.
A further crucial aspect is that you will have access to the labor market regardless of whether you select a full- or part-time job. Yes, this will give you a good starting point once you finish your studies and begin looking for a long-term job.
Work and study visa in the USA
You must obtain either an F-1 or M-1 visa if you are a full-time student who wants to work and study in the United States. In actuality, both of them are immigrant visa categories that are open to international students.
The F-1 visa is for academic students who want to enroll in a language learning program, a college, a university, or any other academic institution that is accredited. The M-1 visa is intended for programs that are professional or non-academic.
The M-1 visa is more limited in nature when it comes to employment opportunities. This is because people with visas typically aren’t allowed to work on or off campus while they’re in school.
Therefore, work and study essentially means that you need to obtain an F-1 visa if you are enrolled in a full-time program in the USA.
Here you can find out how to get a student visa in America
Work and study in USA for international students holders of an F-1 visa
An important feature of an F-1 visa is that it forbids off-campus employment during the first year of study.
Although you can still work on campus as long as you abide by the implied rules and limitations. After that, once you’ve finished your second year, you can start working off-campus.
Off-campus employment in America is divided into three main aspects:
- Curriculum Practical Training (CPT).
- Optional Practical Training OPT (pre-completion or post-completion).
- Optional Practical Training Appendix in Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Or to extend the Optional Practical Training (OPT ) for an extra 17-month.
It goes without saying that one of the factors in this is that students need to engage in practical training while they are studying. That is the prerequisite if you want to benefit from off-campus employment in the United States. In fact, allowing students to work while they study is done so that they can gain useful work experience. They can then have the chance to practice the skills they pick up in the classroom.
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Difference between CPT and OPT Programs
For students with an F-1 visa, there are only a few restrictions on employment in the country.
Curriculum Practical Training (CPT)
Students can engage in hands-on training in a subject area that is directly related to their primary area of study through this work and study program. To benefit from the work and study under the CPT program in America, the F-1 case must also be legitimate.
In essence, you can only get it if your work is an essential component of your specialty. This also applies if the experience is a requirement for your course of study.
Undoubtedly, the DSO (Designated School Official) is in charge of issuing CPT during the first semester once you are admitted to the post-graduate level. If your study program requires this kind of experience, then this is the case. DSO will also direct you in all pertinent details.
You can work either full- or part-time under the CPT program. You must also submit a completed cooperation agreement or a letter from your employer at the same time.
Optional Practical Training OPT (pre-completion or post-completion)
The OPT program, in contrast, is for temporary employment and, like the CPT program, is directly related to your field of study. While CPT is an essential component of your academic program, you will be able to take advantage of the benefits of having an F-1 visa during the OPT program.
Without a doubt, OPT (Optional Practical Training) is merely optional and can be disregarded.
So as to further clarify, CPT is only applicable to your post-graduate studies and is for the employer. On the other hand, OPT is not restricted to the employer and can be used before or after graduation.
How many hours can international students work in USA?
As was previously mentioned, full-time students in the USA on an F-1 visa are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week on campus. There are some exceptions to this cap, though, for students who can demonstrate that they are experiencing “severe economic hardship.” You can always speak to your DSO to learn more about your options. And finally, you are permitted to work up to 40 hours per week over the holidays.
How much can I earn in USA while studying?
In the USA, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Nevertheless, each state determines its own minimum wage, which may range from this minimum to $15 per hour. In other words, where you decide to live affects how much money you can expect to make. Additionally, the amount is based on your level of professional experience. Finally, you can anticipate higher pay for jobs requiring more advanced skills.-xolarships